From Publishers Weekly
Winner of the 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize, this book is a loosely connected collection of short stories portraying the monotonous, isolated lives of American expats and Saudis living in small, isolated Saudi Arabian communities. Sanow, an American who moved to Saudi Arabi in her late teens, reflects on her experiences through the circumstances and emotions of many of her characters. In "Pioneer," a lonely little boy spends hours watching each creature that passes, attempting to amuse himself without toys or playmates; meanwhile, his frustrated mother slowly grows weary of their monotonous, lonely life and begins to crack. Ghusun and Thurayya, the two young Saudi girls in "Slow Stately Dance in Triple Time," must remain confined to their home, as per their eldest brother's command; secretly peering into the outside world, they witness as much as they can, but they know the life of inequity that awaits them, shaped by ritual and tradition as much as their desert surroundings. The remaining five stories detail the same sense of isolation through a range of intriguing characters.
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"Gorgeous and subtle, Anne Sanow's Triple Time are stories that stay with you. . . . Loss is the base note, but also a patina that softens experience--proof of what should be treasured. This is simply great storytelling."
--Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
“This is the kind of manuscript that reminds me why people want to become editors and agents, and why writers are willing to judge contests: you hope that among the bad manuscripts and the good ones and the very good ones there will be one that is great. This book is great.”
“Sanow brings Saudi Arabia to life in seven windswept tales. Each character grapples with the strictures of Saudi society and the rapid changes affecting the nation, both from the outside and from within. A fascinaing glimpse into a world with which many Westerners are unfamiliar.”
“[The stories] detail a sense of isolation through a range of intriguing characters.”
“Fascinating . . . The temptation here is to label this an exotic and esoteric book, but it is the iconic characters that provide the fulcrum for these seven linked stories. Memorable books such as this reinforce the old saw that people are always more interesting than places.”
“Impressive. A complexly rendered fresco that delves into a country undergoing explosive change tempered with expat Americans who have been there so long there may be no going back to anything else. . . The stories stand alone as a masterful telling. But there is a thread only revealed toward the end which makes them all the more powerful.”
“Does everything that a work of fiction set in a much-mystified country should: it provides us with an insider’s view of the many sides of the culture and forces us to query our assumptions about it, all the while presenting us with wonderful stories and characters who are the antithesis of stereotypes--vivid, fully formed, and flawed, yet filled with hope and yearning.”
—Women’s Review of Books
Unsentimental and deftly restrained, Sanow’s book is ultimately a portrait of cross-cultural lives in transformation.”
Time Out New York